Looks like MJ is in trouble
LOS OLIVOS, Calif. - Investigators conducting a criminal probe swarmed Michael Jackson (news)'s Neverland Ranch on Tuesday, a sheriff's spokesman said. The purpose of the search was not disclosed.
Authorities from the Santa Barbara County sheriff's and district attorney's offices served a warrant about 8:30 a.m. as part of an "ongoing criminal investigation," Sgt. Chris Pappas said in a recorded statement on a media information line.
The district attorney's office had no comment, said legal secretary Debbie Popp.
It was not known whether Jackson or his children were at the Santa Ynez Valley property, which has its own zoo and amusement park with bumper cars, a merry-go-round and Ferris wheel.
Nearly 10 years have passed since the 45-year-old singing superstar faced a child-molestation investigation in a case that never resulted in criminal charges.
The singer who had international hits with the albums "Thriller" (1982), "Bad" (1987) and "Dangerous" (1991), saw his career begin to collapse in 1993 amid allegations he molested a boy. Jackson maintained his innocence, and charges were never filed. He reportedly paid a multimillion-dollar settlement.
Jackson is also connected to Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano, who has begun serving federal prison time for possessing illegal explosives, and is being investigated about whether he secretly taped conversations of celebrities and their lawyers.
Pellicano, 59, reportedly worked for Jackson while the singer was under investigation for child molestation in the early 1990s.
As the raid was under way, Court TV reported that the warrant was tied to allegations brought by a 12-year-old boy. That could not immediately be confirmed by The Associated Press.
Jackson's spokesman, Stuart Backerman, did not answer his cell phone and did not immediately return messages Tuesday.
In a television documentary broadcast on ABC earlier this year, Jackson said he had slept in a bed with many children. "When you say bed you're thinking sexual," the singer said. "It's not sexual, we're going to sleep. I tuck them in. ... It's very charming, it's very sweet."
The search came on the same day Epic Records released "Number Ones," a greatest hits collection featuring Jackson's new single, "One More Chance." On Nov. 26, CBS is scheduled to air a Jackson special consisting mainly of old concert footage.
Jackson has three children, and caused an international uproar last year when he displayed his baby, Prince Michael II, to fans by dangling him briefly from a fourth-floor balcony in Germany, where he had gone to accept an award.
Jackson called the incident a "terrible mistake," and Berlin authorities said the actions were not punishable.
Not much is known about Prince Michael II, whose mother has not been identified. The singer's 6-year-old son, Prince Michael I, and 5-year-old daughter, Paris, were born during his marriage to Debbie Rowe, his plastic surgeon's nurse, which ended in 1999.
He was also married to Lisa Marie Presley (news), Elvis's daughter, between 1994 and 1996.
Jackson routinely keeps the children's heads covered with cloth while escorting them in public — and he usually sports a surgical mask himself when out and about. He has said he wants to protect them from the public eye.